Hilton’s current problem

2017-08-04 13:27
Ratepayers must save power to keep load on 33kV cable in design limits.

Ratepayers must save power to keep load on 33kV cable in design limits. (File)

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A Hilton resident task team has asked those who live in the area to cut down on their power usage. Hilton has been buffeted by outages over the past few months, leading to the establishment of the Hilton electricity task team in June.

The Hilton Ratepayers Association on Thursday released their first progress report since the formation of the task team, updating residents on power outages in Hilton and surrounding areas as well as the causes of the blackouts.

The report stated that one of the issues was as a result of a fault in one of the buried cable sections of the 33kV supply from Msunduzi’s Retief substation to the Crossways substation, supplying Hilton and part of Sweetwaters.

“It said the existing 33kV supply system is being stressed beyond its design limits and is critically overloaded without the necessary operating redundancy available.

“This stress on the network becomes more pronounced and extremely serious when one of the 33kV supply feeders is disconnected from the system for whatever reason.”

The report proposed an engagement with Msunduzi and uMngeni municipalities as well as the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa), Eskom and the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) to resolve the issue.

In the meantime, the report said that there needed to be a reduction in electricity demand from the Crossways substation especially during peak periods.

To strategise and formulate an action plan the TT has formed the following portfolios: municipal; legal; business; infrastructural; research; alternative energy; and communications consisting of Hilton-based advocates, lawyers, engineers, researchers, entrepreneurs, alternative energy experts, and councillors.

“The initial intention is to try to engage with them constructively,” said the report. However, it said if this failed, they would seek legal advice for a more forceful approach.

“The approach will begin at local level but may have to escalate to provincial and national level. This process takes time and positive results in the short-term are unlikely.

“We, the consumers of Hilton can and must help resolve this crisis by taking the problem to heart and reducing our electricity demand now, especially during the peak demand periods, between 5 am to 8 am and 5 pm to 8 pm daily.”

The report said this could be done by conserving electricity at all times, improving household insulation to minimise the use of air conditioners in summer and heaters in winter.

“Unless the majority, if not all, Hilton residents subscribe to this initiative immediately, interrupted supplies will continue and could put the whole 33kV supply system into serious jeopardy, if not into total collapse.

“Whether we like it or not, we are part of the current problem and have control over this part of the solution,” said the report.

“We, the HRA (Hilton Ratepayers Association) through the TT, are determined to do everything we can to resolve this electricity supply crisis and will need your full co-operation, understanding, support and patience to do so.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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